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Where Can I Buy A Pre Pay Cellphone In The US?  
User currently offlineSilverfox From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 1058 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 2009 times:

Over here in the UK we have variuos chains of mobile phone shops
Carphone warehouse
The Link etc
Are there similar ones in the US. Ineed to buy a pre pay sim card so my phone will work on a US mobile number
Apparently is quids cheaper for my wife to ring a US mobile in the US from the UK than it is for her to ring my UK number when i am in the US

How Strange!

Thanks

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 53
Reply 1, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2001 times:

The idea of prepaid phones hasnt quite caught on here Silverfox like it has in the UK...I am not sure if it is even available here yet...

Greg



Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
User currently offlineCovert From Ghana, joined Oct 2001, 1451 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1999 times:

Silverfox,

You won't have any problem finding a shop where you can purchase a prepaid phone. Most large department stores and all electronics chains like Circuit City, Best Buy, Radio Shack sell them. And places like Wal Mart and K Mart have them too. Some supermarkets and a lot of convenience stores sell them too. You probably won't walk too far after deboarding your flight at any airport here to find them.

Notable brands are Tracfone, Virgin Mobile and Go from AT&T Wireless.

Tracfone has ugly old phones, and Go uses a moderately modern Nokia phone.

You would not have many options to use your GSM phone over here in terms of prepaid. T-Mobile offers a prepaid service, but you must buy it inclusive of the phone. Also for any hope of it to work, your phone should not be carrier locked.

covert



thank goodness for TCAS !
User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7780 posts, RR: 16
Reply 3, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1969 times:

Like Covert said the better question is where can't you find a prepaid cell phone.

Just check out all the major US celluar providers websites, they all have (or are associated with) pre-paid cell plans.



Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineSilverfox From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 1058 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 1955 times:

Thanks for the replies, My phone here is a triband that works on the Us network. What i really want is the sim card to put in it, so when i am in the US i have a US number. When i leave to come home i put my UK sim card back.
So Whats the cheapest phone i can buy?


User currently offlineNormalSpeed From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1944 times:

I think I even saw some at Target the other day.

-Normal


User currently offlineNikibary From United States of America, joined May 2003, 85 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1942 times:

prepaid phones are around $80-100, usualy including some talk time ($25 or so) and the cost is 25 cents with most carriers. Unlike in europe, you will have to pay for incoming calls.

User currently offlineSeb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 11678 posts, RR: 15
Reply 7, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 1929 times:

I have AT&T Go Phone. I paid US$99.99 and monthly pay 29.99 for 150 day minutes and unlimited evening and weekend minutes. My phone does have a sim card. I can send and recieve text messages also--one messege per minute. And, yes, I do pay for incoming and outgoing calls. I have seen Go Phones for sale at 7-11 and Circle K as well as Albertsons and Safeway. Every mall has at least 3 kiosks selling cell phones.

GO CANUCKS!!



Life in the wall is a drag.
User currently offlineJcs17 From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 8065 posts, RR: 39
Reply 8, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 1928 times:

They even sell them at 7-11.


America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
User currently offlineN863DA From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 48 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1918 times:

Silverfox,

Bear in mind that, unlike in the UK, not all US cellular networks are compatible.

The only prepaid services mentioned above that are GSM services are Go-Phone (AT&T WS) and T-Mobile Pre-Pay.

TracFone uses CDMA (completely different) and Virgin Mobile also does. Virgin Mobile USA is completely incompatible the T-Mobile-UK based Virgin Mobile UK.

If I were you, I would just buy the phone that goes with whatever service you buy, and use it. Your UK phone is likely to be SIM-locked (only accepts SIM cards from the company from whom you purchased it) and as a result, you're unlikely to be able to put in a new SIM card, since even T-Mobile US is effectively a different company than T-Mobile UK (and their sim cards are incompatible - as I tried this with a T-Mobile US sim in a T-Mobile UK phone... didn't work).

N 8 6 3 D A


User currently offlineBobrayner From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2003, 2227 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1912 times:

It's trivial to un-simlock a phone in the UK, just in case you consider that path (although it's not ideal, as pointed out).

Just be sure to unlock it before you travel.



Cunning linguist
User currently offlineSilverfox From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 1058 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 1890 times:

Sorry to ask the dumb question, but my phone is a Nokia 6610, which is a triband receiver.
From the answers given am i to understand that the SIM cards are different shapes in the US and wont fit?
surely if my phone will work on a US network with a UK SIM. (which it does, and i can choose which network)whats the problem in installing a US one?
I need to use it in San Francisco/Philadelphia/Detroit/ Florida. although the place in Fla is so in the backwoods i dont think they have newspapers let alone TV and cell phones
To give you an example. over here you can buy, from Carphone Warehouse a Virgin SIM card only.. cost 9.99 GBP. this fits into any phone of your choosing and you buy scratch cards in various denominations to keep your account in credit.
Are you saying that the US does not have anything like this and in addition you have to pay for incoming calls.?
If so 'How bloody prehistoric'
Tell me i am wrong please


User currently offlineUN_b732 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 4289 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 1889 times:

You need to have GSM1900 to use US networks with your own phone..even then, I think T-Mobile and Cingular..MAY sell you a SIM card alone.
I would suggest Virgin Mobile USA's Kyocera K7 Rave for $79.99 if you want to get a new phone.
-AG



What now?
User currently offlineMt99 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 6600 posts, RR: 6
Reply 13, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 1884 times:
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While visiting a friend in Europe he explained to me that his cellular phone company gives him a second SIM card that can be inserted in his car phone (like built into the car - was a volvo- , not like an aftermarket thing) so he can have the same phone number in his car, as using a handheld phone is prohibited.


Step into my office, baby
User currently offlineHawaiian717 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 3195 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 1883 times:

The SIM cards are the same shape. The issues to consider are:

1. US GSM is on a different frequency than Europe. Since your phone is tri-band, this isn't a problem.
2. You phone may be locked to only accept SIM cards from your cell provider. You would have to get it unlocked to use a SIM card from a US cell phone company.
3. Getting a US SIM card. You would have to check with the cell phone companies to see if they'll do that.

The big three US companies that use GSM are T-Mobile, AT&T, and Cingular. Be careful with Cingular though, since outside California/Nevada they use a TDMA network, but they do have roaming agreements for GSM coverage. Also be sure your phone uses the new AT&T network, which is GSM, rather than the old network, which is TDMA.

In the US, moving SIM cards around isn't that popular, especially with most companies SIM-locking their phones. Plus, the majority of 2G cellular users here are CDMA, not GSM. CDMA does not use removable SIM cards.

If all else fails, you can always get an inexpensive US cell phone.

Hope you can find an arrangement that works for you.

David / MRY


User currently offlineN863DA From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 48 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week ago) and read 1874 times:

Silverfox,

No, you're missing my point. It's not that SIM cards are a different size, shape, or that the GSM frequency is different (which is true, but can be overcome by the fact you have a triband phone).

The issue in the US is that not all networks use GSM. Period. It's like trying to put Mac software in a PC, without an emulator. This idea is incomprehensible to Europeans, where all the cellular systems are (ideally) compatible. If only it were like that here.

HOWEVER, here in the US, cellphone systems are physically different. Because of differences in network technology between different systems (think of it like this: it's like a French person, that only speaks French, trying to commute with a person who only speaks Chinese), there is fragmentation in the US market where it does not exist in the (much better planned) European cellular system.

Virgin Mobile USA is similar to Virgin Mobile UK only in NAME. They are completely different technologies, using completely different systems, in completely different ways.

Again, there ARE GSM companies in the US that are compatible with the European (and indeed, Global) system - T-Mobile, AT&T GSM and Cingular GSM. However, most other networks are NOT the same.

Because the technology is not the same, the use of SIM cards does not exist, either, in anything other than GSM (and iDEN) networks. iDEN is a completely different technology, and offered only by a company called Nextel, so discount that idea right off the bat.

The ultimate point (and I do have one, I promise) is that you can get a lot of different types of pre-paid cellphones here. But don't try and be "clever" and use your own phone. Just take what they give you.

Otherwise, go with AT&T Wireless' "GO PHONE" and that is GSM and thus, will solve all your problems.

N 8 6 3 D A


User currently offlineRedngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 44
Reply 16, posted (10 years 11 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 1867 times:

You can find prepaid cellphones at any Wal-Mart. K-Mart probably has them, too.
~75.00 US for the phone
~30.00 US for a 120 minute card

redngold



Up, up and away!
User currently offlineCovert From Ghana, joined Oct 2001, 1451 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (10 years 11 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 1860 times:

N863DA couldn't have said it better. The prepaid phones are cheap, you just gotta bear with it, it's only a temporary measure.

covert



thank goodness for TCAS !
User currently offlineN863DA From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 48 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (10 years 11 months 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 1850 times:

Silverfox,

I am also very familiar with Floridian cellular systems; I have lived in multiple places in the state, from the Urban peninsula to my hometown in the Panhandle.

Tell me where you're going in FL, and I will tell you what national service providers exist in that area. Failing that, a good site to use is http://www.letstalk.com - they appear to be relatively impartial to cell companies and present loads at once.

North Florida has undisputed Alltel (analog and CDMA) coverage, while the Peninsula has AT&T and Cingular coverage, TDMA with GSM along the I-95, I-75 and I-4 corridors. As a rule, T-Mobile GSM coverage follows all three interstates in Florida (and cities near them), plus Panama City in the Panhandle.

"Florida is not backward; it's just less forward than most places" << My favorite quote!  Smile

N 8 6 3 D A


User currently offlineCovert From Ghana, joined Oct 2001, 1451 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (10 years 11 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 1840 times:

http://www.wirelessadvisor.com more regional info than you'd care to handle...

covert



thank goodness for TCAS !
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